Ram Jethmalani

Ram Jethmalani

Ram Jethmalani (born September 10, 1923) is an Indian politician and a famous and controversial criminal lawyer.

He was born at Shikharpur in Sind (now in Pakistan), in 1923.

Jethmalani is considered a maverick, and has many distinctions to his credit. He started life very early, and after being given a triple-promotion in school, and after completing his LL.B. at the age of 17, he was too young to join the Bar. But, after persuading the Chief Justice of Sind to pass a special resolution to relax the rules, he entered the profession with a vengeance.

He married Shrimati Ratna Jethmalani in 1947, and Durga, when he moved to Bombay, after partition. They had already married before independence, so in a manner, it was just a ceremony to renew their vows. There was a law, at that point of time, in the Presidency of Bombay, disallowing bigamy, and so he married his second wife in Delhi, when they traveled by road. He has 2 sons and 2 daughters. Two of his children, Mahesh Jethmalani and Rani Jethmalani are also well known lawyers.

He has been a member of parliament consecutively since 1987.

In 2004, he contested against the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an independent candidate from Lucknow with the support of Indian National Congress and lost.

Ram Jethmalani is a well known face amongst the legal community in India. Even though he has been known as only a criminal lawyer, he has appeared in some of the most high profile case, and fought every kind of case. He has taken-up unpopular defense cases such as defending the killers of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, people involved in market scams (Harshad mehta and Ketan Parekh), and a host of gangsters, and smugglers as well as the British girl Daisy Angus who was acquitted of hashish smuggling after 5 years in jail... Currently, he has been in the news for taking up the defense of Manu Sharma, prime accused in the Jessica Lall murder case, however, he failed to get Manu Sharma free [ [http://www.indianexpress.com/story/18891.html The Indian Express] ] .

His in-depth knowledge of criminal law and his sharp cross-examination skills are well-known. He has a penchant for making startling (and often unfounded) public revelations as was evident during his defence of Harshad Mehta. Jethmalani went to make much-publicized claim that the then Prime Minister took a vast sum as bribe from Harshad, a claim which was soon debunked by some in the media much to his embarrassment.

Jessica Lall murder Case

Jethmalani opens defence arguments in Jessica Lall Case.“I’ll defend Manu Sharma till the last breath of my life”, says Ram Jethmalani, senior criminal lawyer.

“On that fateful night about seven years ago, a girl was shot dead in front of 400 people: men and women who are the ones society often hails and fetes. For their intelligence and their achievement. For their sense of fair play and for their ability to distinguish between right and wrong. How horribly wrong we are.”

Senior Criminal Lawyer and former Law minister Ram Jethmalani has told the Delhi High Court that key accused Siddharth Vashishtha alias Manu Sharma was not present in the Tamrind Court Party where model Jessica Lall was shot dead.

Jethmalani began his argument on the appeal with a reference to media reports about the case. He talked in detail about the “media trial” of the case and urged the bench not to take note of it.

“I will prove by intrinsic evidence that two persons had shot her. I remember that for some days after the murder even police had stated this to the press,” Ram Jethmalani told a Division Bench comprising Justice R.S. Sodhi and Justice P.K. Bhasin.

Jethmalini’s decision to take up Manu Sharma’s case has sent shock waves throughout the country. The dissent in the Jethmalani household was strong.

Mahesh, Jethmalani’s son said, “Our entire family is opposed to his defending Manu. We tried to convince him that this was not a case of public importance.”

Rani, Jethmalani’s daughter has also taken a stand against her father. Rani earlier in a discussion program on a TV channel pledged her support to Sabrina Lall, Jessica Lall’s sister.

Taking a cue from ‘Gandhigari’ people are planning to send him flowers and messages to dissuade him.

Kamini Jaiswal, a close friend of Jethmalani, agreed: “In a matter of this nature where public opinion is against Manu, Jethmalani should not have taken up the case. He is looked up to as an idol in the legal fraternity, as someone who would stand up for the underdog. I am highly disappointed.”

“We plan to send roses and messages to him,” she added.

“The country is shocked and ashamed of what Ram Jethmalani has done. This is a result of money and power. We hope that justice is done to Jessica Lall’s family as was done in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case,” a campaigner for “Justice For Jessica Lall” said.

“What about Jethmalani’s conscience? What if he too suffers one day at the hands of insensitive yet powerful louts? ” he questioned.

Jethmalani, however, was unmoved; “Nothing on earth will make me back out of this case. My children think if I take up this case, it will make me unpopular. But I will not refuse a case for such a reason.”

“I’ll defend Manu Sharma till the last breath of my life.” he added.


ee also

* K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra

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